Terry Bowden raised Akron’s profile, made the Zips competitive and led them to bowl games over seven seasons. It wasn’t enough.
Bowden was fired Sunday, a day after Akron completed a disappointing 4-8 season with a 28-3 loss at South Carolina. The Zips lost their last five games.
Athletic director Larry Williams announced Bowden’s dismissal, saying it came after a thorough review of the program in consultation with the school’s president and board of trustees.
“It is clear that we need to make a change if we are going to consistently achieve at an even higher level,” Williams said. “Akron athletics greatly appreciates all that Terry has done for the university, and we wish him the best moving forward.”
Bowden went 1-11 in his first season at Akron and finished 35-52, going 23-33 record in Mid-American Conference play. He also led the Zips to bowl in 2015 and 2017.
But after an upset victory over Northwestern on Sept. 15 in their second game, the Zips went 2-6 in the MAC and 2-8 overall.
Bowden is disappointed he won’t be able to finish what he started.
“It saddens me that I will not be able to work through this with my coaches and players,” he said. “But the university feels it is time to bring in new leadership and a new direction. It’s been one of the greatest joys of my life to come to Akron and build this program, but also for the great relationships I have established.”
Bowden led Auburn to an 11-0 season in 1993 and won his first 20 games at the SEC school. The son of Florida State coaching great Bobby Bowden went 47-17 at Auburn before resigning after a 1-5 start in 1998. He worked as a TV analyst for 10 years before spending three seasons at Division II North Alabama.
On Dec. 22, 2011, he became Akron’s 27th coach.